Saturday, May 13, 2006

A lesson in genetics

Tomorrow's Mother's Day, but this post is about my dad. Sorry.

I often putter around the spare bedroom and kitchen, pretending to do this and that, while Randal is sitting in the living room watching a movie or something on television. I turn down numerous offers to sit and watch with him, on the pretext I am busy doing something else. But even I have had to admit to myself on more than one occasion that I really am watching more television from the kitchen or even sometimes through the little window between our living room and kitchen than I am actually cleaning the spare room (or whatever). However, actually settling down and watching TV with Randal would be admitting that I am not, in fact, engaged in the activity in which I am pretending to be.

Well, this evening as the same pattern unfolded, it suddenly hit me: I'm turning into my father. At my parents' house, there is a half-wall between the kitchen and family room. I cannot count how many times I have been sitting watching something on TV when, all of a sudden, I become aware of a presence behind me. This almost invariably turns out to be my dad, who has walked into the kitchen, ostensibly to get a drink or on some such other pretext, and then remain there, transfixed, standing by the kitchen table, watching the TV. I ask him to join me, and almost always the response is, "No, no, I'm busy doing _______."* I have known him to watch almost the entirety of some TV shows and movies from this position.

The funniest occurrence of this behaviour was a few years ago, when I stumbled across Desperado on TV. I am not particularly an Antonio Banderas fan, but I had seen the movie earlier that year on video and thought it was quite good. The film had just started, so I decided to watch it. Two minutes later, Dad walks in to the kitchen to get a drink, and asks what I am watching. When I tell him, he actually scoffs at my taste in film! I continue watching. About 15 minutes later, I notice he is still there. I invite him to join me. "No, I've got to go to bed."** This exchange happens again at the 25-minute mark, and again at the 35-minute. Finally, at the 40-minute mark, Dad comes silently into the family room and sits down on the couch next to me. To seal the deal, I ask him if he wants me to make popcorn. He says yes, of course.

Anyway, there's worse things I could turn into (a glow-worm, for example) and worse habits I could pick up (though not from either of my parents, since they are nothing short of perfect, of course) ...

And now, back to cleaning my room. Just going to check out what Randal's watching first, though ;)

* Though I have to say, nothing gets a father to agree to watch television or a movie with you - even if it's a movie he's seen 12 times - faster than combining the offer with the temptation of a fresh bowl of popcorn. A sneaky let's-have-some-father-and-daughter-bonding-time tactic to which I will admit to doing...fairly frequently. (Confession: One of the last times I was home, I watched a whole hour-long episode of Babylon 5, which I think is a terrible show, and some other lame sci-fi show (and I do like sci-fi) with my dad simply because, well, I was in the mood to hang with him.)

** Anyone who is related to me will be laughing at this point, since that is a common line of my father's which is usually followed by his staying up watching TV or playing a computer game for the next few hours - he says he's working, but we all know that the sound effects in MS-Word sound nothing like what it sounds like when you shoot a phasar in his favourite Star Trek video game!

1 comment:

Waterlily said...

When I ask your father why he's not sitting down, he answers: "I don't want to be too comfortable." And how about you? Do you seek or shun comfort?